Advance assurance for R&D tax claims

Advance Assurance for small companies that claim Research and Development (R&D) tax relief was introduced in November 2015. This measure makes it easier for small businesses investing in research and development to claim tax relief.

Advance Assurance is available to companies who haven’t claimed R&D before, have an annual turnover of less than

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When you can or cannot change your company year-end

There are special rules in place which limit the ability to change a company’s year end date. A company’s year end date is also known as its ‘accounting reference date’ and is usually set by reference to the date the company was incorporated.

Under certain limited circumstances it is possible to make a change to the year end. However, you can only change the date for the current or preceding financial year. Making a change to a year end date will also change the deadline for filing accounts (except for during a new company’s first financial year). For new companies, the first accounting reference date is fixed as the last day in the month in which its first anniversary falls.

There is no limit to the amount of times you can shorten a year end date but you can only extend the period to a maximum of 18 months once in every five years. The financial year can also be extended under limited circumstances such as when the company has been put into administration.

A request for a change to an accounting reference date can be made online using the Companies House online service or by using a postal version of the Change your company accounting reference date (AA01) form. No change can be made to a period for which accounts are overdue.

Planning note

There is no overriding reason for using one date over another but there are a number of important factors to take into account.

The most common year end dates are usually 31 December (the end of the year) or 31 March (to coincide with the end of the tax year). We would be happy to review your year end date to help ascertain if another date would be more beneficial.

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More support for non-parental carers

The government has announced that Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit support is to be extended to families who look after children who might otherwise be in the care of the local authority.

Under the current guidelines, support in the form of Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit is available for a maximum of 2 children in a household unless certain limited exceptions apply. The Secretary of State, Esther McVey confirmed to Parliament that these exceptions will be extended to provide support for these children regardless of the order in which they entered the household.

This measure will especially help those non-parental carers looking after 2 children and then subsequently having children of their own. There have been many reports in the press of low-income carers who despite being non-parental carers have lost significant amounts of tax credits because of these rules. Child Benefit did continue to be paid regardless of family size.

The Secretary of State Esther McVey said:

‘I have been reviewing this issue carefully since becoming Secretary of State a few months ago. Adoptive parents and non-parental carers, known as ‘kinship carers’, have often stepped in to help a family member or close friend in times of need. They have provided support and provided a home for a child in need. It is therefore right that Government supports them in doing so. That is why today I am extending the existing support for children and families in these circumstances.’

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