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Meaning - An easy and pleasant life.

We strive to make the financial aspects of running
your business or organisation as easy as possible.
We're more than just accountants.

We can help you grow your business, and advise you
on the best strategy to give you...the life of Riley.

Payroll Year End and P11D Benefits in Kind

Date posted: April 24, 2018

Now that Spring has sprung, we at Riley & Co are turning our attention to the ‘end of the tax year’ duties.

The most important of these duties is the declaration of P11D and P9D forms to declare benefits in kind.

Benefits in Kind – the basics

The important question to ask yourself is “Do we, the employer, pay for anything which the employee enjoys for personal use?”

If the answer is yes then you probably need to complete a benefit in kind declaration and tell HMRC, and your employee, so that any tax and national insurance due can be collected.

The most common benefits in kind include:

  • Company car and/or payment of private fuel costs
  • Private Health Cover
  • Overdrawn Directors Loan account or low interest loans to employees
  • Personal Tax Bill or Accountancy costs paid for on behalf of the employer

This of course is not an exhaustive list. There are far more examples in the HMRC A-Z list of expenses and benefits here; anything which is already dealt with through a payroll scheme like a bonus, is not relevant for this exercise.

We, at Riley & Co are contacting our clients in the next few weeks to discuss benefits in kind. We provide this as a service to all clients on an annual basis. If you feel like we can help you and your company please call us on 01422 341019 or email us at


Optimum Level of Salary and Dividends

Date posted: March 26, 2018

For many businesses trading as a limited company, taking a low basic salary with the balance of income extracted as dividends, is a common tax planning strategy.

The theory is as follows:

  • You take a low tax efficient salary no higher than the personal allowance so that it does not attract personal tax.
  • You should make sure the salary is high enough for national insurance purposes i.e. that it counts as a year’s ‘stamp’ for your national insurance history to help protect your future entitlement to state pension and other benefits.
  • The salary is a tax allowable cost for your business so corporation tax is saved at 19% (corporation tax rate for 2018/19) on the gross (pre-tax) salary.
  • Any additional amounts you extract from your company are treated as dividends which do not attract national insurance, therefore you are not paying any more national insurance than you need to be.
  • Please note that dividends are not treated as a tax allowable expense (unlike a salary) so your company does not save corporation tax on the dividends.

Many people choose to limit their total income to not go into the higher tax band (£46,350 for 18/19) so they are not taxed at the higher levels of tax, but this will be a personal choice and a balance will need to be made between tax efficiency and how much of the available profits in your business you want to extract.


The introduction of the Employment Allowance in April 2014 enabled employers to not pay the first £2,000 of employers’ national insurance. This then increased to £3,000 for 17/18 and 18/19.

Typically the employment allowance means that it is slightly more tax efficient to take a gross salary all the way to the tax free allowance level (£11,850 for 17-18), however HMRC announced that from 16/17 the Employment Allowance will not be available to companies where the only person on the payroll is a director, i.e. ‘single director employee’ limited companies.

Unfortunately what they have left open as a ‘grey’ area is the situation where there is a husband and wife who are both directors taking a salary with no other employees.

As things stand it would appear this would be ok, however it seems to be that HMRC’s intention is to block companies that have no ‘real’ employees from claiming the employment allowance (the government are trying to encourage small businesses to take on employees).

Our stand on this currently is to lean on the cautious side – in the situation of a husband and wife director payroll we would advise only claiming the employment allowance if both parties have an active role in the day to day business.

There are two National Insurance thresholds you need to be aware of:

  • Lower Earnings Limit – as long as you earn above this you are protecting your entitlement to future state pension and benefits, without necessarily paying any National Insurance.
  • Primary Threshold – if you earn above this, you have to start paying National Insurance.

So the sweet-spot is to go up to the Primary Threshold but no higher.

The National Insurance Primary Threshold for 18/19 is, £162 per week or £8,424 for the year.

Therefore, we would suggest a monthly Gross Salary of £702 which stays just below this threshold.


Dividends are taxed as follows:

The dividend allowance means that an individual’s first £2,000 of dividends are tax free.

Over and above this £2,000 the dividend income is taxed as follows:

  • If you have any un-used personal allowance £11,850 for 18/19 (£11500 17/18) then that element is tax free
  • Any dividends within the basic tax threshold and up to £46,350 for 18/19 (£45000 17/18) attract a tax charge of 7.5% (basic tax threshold = basic rate band + personal allowance)
  • Dividends above the basic tax band (£46,350 for 18/19) are charged at 32.5%
  • Additional rates of tax will apply at the upper tax band £150,000

Assuming you take a salary of up to National Insurance limit of £8424 (£8164 17/18) you can take dividends of £37926 (£36836 17/18)

This is because you have spare personal allowances, which together with the £5000 dividend tax free allowance, reduce the dividend amount which is subject to tax at 7.5%.  See the table below:

Tax Year 18/19 Tax Year 17/18
£ Annual £ Annual
Gross Salary 8424 8164
Dividends 37926 36836
Total Gross Income 46350 45000
Tax on Dividends (2438) (2138)
Net Cash in Pocket 43912 42863


Since we are fast approaching the end of the 17/18 tax year, consider whether you have fully utilised your personal tax allowance, your dividend tax free allowance and your basic rate band.

It may also be appropriate to look at who owns the share capital and consider gifting share to other members, such as spouses, partners or adult children

Christmas and New Year Office Hours

Date posted: December 22, 2017

“Calling all Contractors”

Date posted: October 30, 2017

IR35 is tax legislation that is designed to combat tax and NIC avoidance by workers supplying their services via an intermediary, usually a Ltd company, but who would be an employee if the intermediary was not used.

Detailed guidance on how IR35 works and where it is most likely to apply is available at:

But what’s new?

A seismic shift came about in April of this year whereby the onus for deciding whether IR35 applies now firmly rests with the end client (or agency if appropriate). These new rules do however only apply to “Public Authorities” which include:-

  • Government departments and their executive agencies
  • Police and Fire Authorities
  • Schools and Universities
  • Local authorities
  • The National Health Service

The Employment Status Service (ESS) from HMRC is designed to test whether an engagement is “inside” or “outside” IR35 and it believed most public sector organisations will use the ESS to assess a contractor’s status.

But since the end client or agency are responsible for making the assessment, and more importantly liable for getting it wrong you may well understand the fear amongst contractors, that they will take an overly cautious approach choosing to apply IR35 wherever there is the slightest doubt.

And what’s next…

Philip Hammond will deliver his second budget next month and it is widely reported he will include further measures to assist bedding in these new rules. Equally well touted is the possibility of widening the definition of “Public Authorities” and/or extending it across the private sector as well!

And finally…

Riley & Co Chartered Accountants have been helping contractors ever since the IR35 legislation was introduced in 1999. Forewarned is forearmed so get in touch now.

Job Vacancy – Accounts & Audit Senior

Date posted: October 12, 2017

Accounts & Audit Senior
£26,000 to £34,000 (Dependent on Experience)

Your new company

Riley & Co is a long established and well-regarded practice situated in Halifax. We look after a wide range of clients from a number of sectors. Our specialisms include Charities, Owner Managed Businesses and Consultant Doctors.

We are extremely professional and knowledgeable but with a friendly and approachable culture.

Your new role

The successful candidate will be ACA or ACCA qualified and have experience in leading external audits from planning to completion.

You will be responsible for organising, controlling and conducting the audit fieldwork for both charity and limited company clients.

Your work will also include preparation of financial statements for audit and non-audit clients as well as the associated tax compliance work.

Duties and Responsibilities

Leading audits from planning to completion.

Preparation of statutory accounts for audit and non-audit clients.

Preparation of Corporation tax computations and returns.

Dealing with ad hoc client queries.

Building and maintaining strong client relationships.

Managing and developing junior members of the team.


ACA or ACCA Qualified.

ACA or ACCA Part-Qualified with experience also considered.

Experience of leading Audit Assignments is essential.

Practice experience is essential.

Charity client experience is desirable.

Knowledge of Iris is desirable.

How to apply

Email a copy of your up-to-date CV to

Closing date 6 November 2017

Job Vacancy – Apprenticeship Business Admin Assistant

Date posted: June 1, 2017

A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a Business Admin Apprentice to join the Riley & Co team and develop a promising career.

As an apprentice within Riley & Co, you will work alongside an established team, get real hands on experience and gain an industry recognised qualification.

In brief about the role –

  • To assist in the maintenance of a high quality working environment and to project a suitable corporate image for the Company.
  • To undertake reception duties, answering the telephone, deal with enquiries and greeting clients in a professional manner.
  • To assist toward the professional appearance of communications and other documents issued.
  • To assist with the Company’s incoming and outgoing post ensuring the franking machine is maintained.
  • To assist with the sourcing and maintenance of the Company’s stationary requirements.
  • To assist in the efficient and continuous operation of the Company’s administration and housekeeping systems.

Personal Qualities

  • Excellent communication skills,
  • Ability to prioritise and plan own workloads,
  • Good level of literacy and numeracy,
  • IT literate,
  • Excellent timekeeping and attendance record,
  • Enthusiasm.

Required Qualifications:

  • 5 GCSE passes including Maths & English at grade C or above.

Riley & Co has been providing the highest quality accountancy, audit and tax planning for over 25 years and has become one of the leading independent practices within Calderdale.

Our history charts the success we have enjoyed in helping Calderdale businesses and individuals achieve their financial goals and tax objectives.

If you an articulate, enthusiastic individual and want to be a part of this continued success, for more information please contact Jan Greenwood, Practice Manager on 01422 341019 or email

Mock Tribunal Event

Date posted: May 18, 2017

On Wednesday 10th May, in partnership with Yorkshires Legal people, Chadwick Lawrence, a Mock Employment Tribunal was held to demonstrate the events that occur during an Employment Tribunal case. The event was hosted at Square Chapel in Halifax, and was extremely well attended by local business leaders.

The fictitious case demonstrated what would typically occur during a constructive unfair dismissal and sex discrimination case, and was heard by an ‘Employment Judge’, complete with ‘Claimants’and ‘Respondents’ to ensure delegates received an accurate picture of skills required as a representative or witness in a similar trial.

Trial bundles and witness statements were provided beforehand to ensure maximum understanding of the facts and legal issues before the trial. Throughout the trial, delegates were invited to ask questions of the witnesses and volunteers acted as lay members. After hearing the witness evidence and closing submissions, delegates had the opportunity to ask questions and vote on what they believed the outcome would be prior to the delivery of the final verdict.

Experienced barristers from Broadway House Chambers donated their time to play the parts of Judge and Barristers, and provided delegates with a great opportunity to witness a live mock employment tribunal hearing.

This provided local business members the opportunity to experience how the tribunal process is conducted and to see how the outcome is determined. It also provided delegates with the opportunity to learn how they should prepare should they find themselves in a similar situation, and to appreciate the tension and the drama that can sometimes be involved in cases such as this.

Sam Pawson, Commercial Development Co-ordinator at Chadwick Lawrence, commented: “It was interesting to witness not only the mock tribunal itself, but how our delegates engaged with the event and the questions they proposed throughout. There was a great attendance from local business leaders who have equally praised the event and how informative it was.”

Simon Walton of Riley’s & Co Accountants commented: “We were thrilled by the turnout at the Mock Tribunal event and were happy to be a co-host for such an informative event for the local business community.”

A delegate, Charles Brook of Brooks Business Recovery commented: “I just want to say, thank you, for an excellent event and a superbly managed presentation. It worked really well to underline just why you not only need to have processes and procedures in place to address the issues that it touched upon but, also the fundamental importance of making proper enquiries, keeping contemporaneous notes, notifying and recording the basis of decisions and generally, not acting in an arbitrary manner.
Thanks to you all for co-hosting this exceptionally interesting and useful event and for inviting me. I wish now that I had brought more of my team along. If I have any employment-related issues I will be calling Chadwick Lawrence first”


Vacancy – Apprentice Accountant (ICAEW Level 4 Trailblazer)

Date posted: May 4, 2017

Vacancy – Apprentice Accountant (ICAEW Level 4 Trailblazer)

Job title – Trainee Accountant

Location – Halifax town centre

Weekly Wage – £12,000 pa

Hours – 35 hours per week

Position – permanent to start September 2017

A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a Trainee Accountant to join the Riley & Co team and develop a promising career.

As an apprentice within Riley & Co, you will work alongside an experienced team, get real hands on experience and gain an industry recognised qualification.

In brief the role will comprise:

  • Accounts preparation
  • Bookkeeping and vat returns
  • Audit work
  • Answering client queries by email and telephone
  • Using in house accounting and tax software
  • Assisting with administrative duties where required

Personal Qualities:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to prioritise and plan own workloads
  • Good level of literacy and numeracy
  • Strong IT skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent timekeeping and attendance record
  • Enthusiasm

Required Qualifications:

  • 3 A level (or equivalent) passes at grade C or above
  • 5 GCSE passes including Maths & English at grade C or above

Riley & Co has been providing the highest quality accountancy, audit and tax planning services for over 30 years and has become one of the leading independent practices within Calderdale.

Our history charts the success we have enjoyed in helping Calderdale businesses and individuals achieve their financial goals and tax objectives.

If you are an articulate, enthusiastic individual and want to be a part of this continued success, please send your CV together with a covering letter to Vicky Atkinson (Director) by email to

What’s the problem with Mortgage References?

Date posted: May 4, 2017

More and more we are being asked to assist clients with mortgage lending references.

These requests can come directly from the lender, via a mortgage broker or from the client themselves and very often they can be a cause of consternation with the lender in terms of the type of information we are able to provide.

A mortgage reference will usually ask us to confirm that we act for the client, confirm the period for which we have acted, and in relation to the accounts of the business to confirm details relating to income, business profits and salary levels of the business owners. The reference will also very often ask us to provide projections or estimates for those periods where accounts are not available or for future periods.

The issue that arises is that as a firm of Chartered Accountants, which operates under the rules of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW), is that the ICAEW specifically precludes us from providing anything except factual information in response to such requests. We are also restricted in relation to provision of information of this kind by our public indemnity insurers. This is because of the risk to the firm of the information being used to support a lending decision, and the potential for us to be contractually obligated if the lending provided is not subsequently repaid. This is also the reason that reference requests are not charged for by ICAEW member firms.

Before we consider what we can and can’t provide, it is also worth noting that we can only respond to a formal request from the lender themselves. This should be in writing and addressed specifically to the firm. If a mortgage broker made a general request for a reference to hold on file, ‘just in case’, we would be unable to provide a response in that case, the reference needs to relate to a specific application to a specific lender.

In limited cases it might be appropriate for us to refuse to provide a reference at all and for new clients it may be inappropriate for us to provide a reference relating to periods where we have not acted for them.

So what can we provide?

  • Factual information relating to accounting periods where the accounts have been completed and submitted to HMRC by ourselves
  • Factual information relating to business ownership
  • Details of the dates we have acted for the client
  • Details of the dates the business commenced trading (if known)
  • A limited opinion ‘that in our experience we would have no reason to suppose the client would enter into an agreement which they were not able to fulfil’

What can’t we provide?


  • Opinions on the future of the business
  • Confirmation of future earnings

We will always work with our clients and the lenders concerned to try and reach a solution to any issues in relation to the provision of mortgage references, lenders may claim that other firms are happy to provide this information ‘why are you being obstructive!’, but this is not the case for any firm operating under the rules of the ICAEW. Very often we can provide much of the information required, but using our own templates and wording as per ICAEW guidance.

Mock Employment Tribunal Hearing

Date posted: May 2, 2017

In partnership with Chadwick Lawrence, we are hosting a live mock employment tribunal.  On this occasion, the event will be delivered by barristers and solicitors and is a great opportunity to observe the cross examination skills you may experience as a ‘representative’ or a ‘claimant’.

For more details of this event see below: