Eastbourne Newsletter – February 2020

The next Eastbourne lunch will be on 27th March 2020, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM, at the Grand Hotel, sponsored by Humphrey & Co - Book Here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsor

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Humphrey & Co

BUDGET DAY IS NOW 11 MARCH

The December General Election meant that the Autumn Budget was delayed and we now know that Sajid Javed will deliver his first Budget on the second Wednesday in March which is when Budget day used to be!

We are expecting that the tax measures in the Conservative Party manifesto will be announced again, together with confirmation that changes consulted on last year will be put in place.

Key tax announcements to listen out for include leaving the rate of corporation tax at 19% and an increase in the national insurance threshold. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the planned roll out of the “off-payroll” working (IR35) rules to the private sector will be delayed.

The Chancellor is also expected to again announce a u-turn on the 2019 loan charge following a review of the legislation by Sir Amyas Morse.

You can follow us on Twitter for live updates during the budget humph_co and after the Budget has taken place we will provide a Budget Summary pdf.

Hove Newsletter – January 2020

The next Hove lunch will be on 10th March 2020, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM, at the Ginger Pig Pub, sponsored by Sarah Hurst Skin Clinic - Book here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

The benefits of Hyaluronic Acid for the skin

I just love what Hyaluronic Acid does for the skin.  It makes skin simply amazing by hydrating and plumping out fine lines and wrinkles.  You hear me banging on about the importance of vitamins and anti-oxidants in the repair of skin and maintenance of healthy skin, but this time I want to really take a look at the features and benefits of Hyaluronic Acid and how exciting this molecule is for skin hydration and ageing.

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is part of a group of substances called Glycosaminoglycans (GAGS) that assist in helping maintain collagen and elastin by retaining moisture.  HA can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water and by increasing the water in the skin then the result is a reduction in lines and wrinkles.  By increasing water and keeping the dermis at its optimum volume, this cushions our cells and structures in a protective gel. As our bodies are made up of 70% water you can see how important this is for really having a beautiful skin.

HA is important both as an internal supplement and external application as it has a high turnover rate.  It only last 2 – 3 days.  The results of a HA deficient skin?

  • Bruises associated with thin skin and ageing
  • The skin becomes more fragile and drier
  • Loss of skin density and flaccidity
  • Ageing of skin

Personally, I’ve seen many skins, particularly as we age, that are completely depleted in HA.  Levels of HA typically start depleting after the age of 40 and some over the age of 60 have none.  Dr Des Fernandes, founder of Environ, tells us more. “We break down about a third of our hyaluronic acid every day so we can easily fall into a deficit if we expose our skin too much to the sun. UV rays destroy it, this causes a thin skin with poor keratinocyte activity.” UV isn’t the only culprit for depleting HA but there are other external aggressors such as pollution, smoking and alcohol so it’s important to safeguard levels in order to achieve plump, youthful skin.

What are the benefits of a HA enriched skin?

  • Anti-wrinkle
  • Anti-nasalabial folds
  • Anti-ageing
  • Skin rejuvenation

“This has been achieved via soft tissue augmentation, improved skin hydration, collagen and elastin stimulation, and face volume restoration” states a team of scientists who recently undertook a review of research on HA.

There are lots of products on the market containing HA.  This isn’t a new ingredient, but it is still an exciting one as it really does work.  There is stacks of scientific evidence.  However, there is a caveat here.  It works only in the right molecular structure and ideally with either home devices that can assist in the delivery of these molecules into the skin or in salon treatments.

The majority of HA in the cosmetic industry is made up of molecules that are just too large to penetrate the skin – FACT.  So, don’t waste your money on something that is just only going to sit on the skin’s surface and give it a lovely glow.  If you really want to transform your skin, you need to look at products that are going to penetrate much deeper.

At Sarah Hurst Skin Clinic we have a range of solutions, from supplements to topical skincare, homecare devices to in salon treatments all maximising your skin with HA and ensuring that you fully receive the benefits of this amazing molecule in the skin.

Our official website is now up and running! Take a look - here

Brighton Newsletter – February 2020

The next Brighton lunch will be on 7th April 2020, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM, at the Hotel du Vin, sponsored by Harvey John - Book Here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsors:

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Harvey John

100 years of female legal professionals

The close of 2019 brought with it a significant milestone. 100 years have passed since The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 allowed women to become (amongst other professions) solicitors, barristers, magistrates, and jurors for the first time. An advancement in equality and diversity in the legal workplace – yes, and of course rightly so – but is it cause for complete celebration? Has the passage of a century seen a fundamental and desirable change in the make-up of our legal professionals, at all levels of the legal profession?

It’s interesting to note that, at the time the 1919 legislation came into force, not everyone appreciated the significance it would have to open up innumerable employment avenues for women – particularly higher-skilled professions such as solicitors and barristers. Lord Buckmaster, an influential man of his time, stated : “Nobody thinks that this bill is going to flood the legal profession with women. It will enable a few women, who are peculiarly qualified, to earn an honourable living”.

If Lord Buckmaster was still alive today, he would surely be shocked by the inaccuracy of his own prediction. According to SRA data most recently compiled in 2017, 48% of all lawyers in law firms are women. Regarding the other staff working in law firms, women comprise 75% of the workforce. From my own experience practising as a Residential Conveyancing Solicitor, in a team of 10 solicitors, 70% were women. It’s clear that The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 has resulted in a fundamental change to the legal profession, far beyond what the law makers anticipated at the time.

Perhaps the most pertinent benchmark of equality and diversity in any workforce is to look at the most senior-end of the profession. Do the female 48% of all lawyers in law firms have fair, equal, and desirable access to partnership positions? According to the 2017 SRA data, 59% of non-partner solicitors are women, compared to just 1-in-3 partners. With this data, it’s clear that the passage of a century hasn’t yet resulted in complete equality at all levels of the legal profession. This is most apparent in the largest law firms (i.e. those with a minimum of 50 partners), in which women account for only 29% of those to have reached partnership status.

Looking forward, the trends are positive, and there are signs over the last decade that the gender imbalance at partnership level is reducing, and that female lawyers therefore have increasingly wider and open access to all levels of legal practice. It’ll be interesting to see how profound a change in gender equality there will be come the end of the next decade.

Hove Newsletter – January 2020

The next Hove lunch will be on 10th March 2020, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM, at the Ginger Pig Pub, sponsored by Sarah Hurst Skin Clinic - Book here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsor

Sarah Hurst Portrait Logo - High Res_White (1)

Sarah Hurst Skin Clinic

It’s fantastic to be sponsoring the ladies lunch clubs in Hove for the year and thanks for the warm welcome back.  Since I last sponsored the ladies lunches 2 years ago we have had a complete rebrand and are specialising in advanced skin and hair removal treatments.  I wanted to return to share with you our passion for the work that we do.

I’ve been in business now for 31 years, starting in 1989 with a mobile business, moving into a room in my home, a studio next to my home and now, along with our absolutely fantastic team in our beautiful clinic, which has now been open for nearly 5 years. Our vision is simple………..We want you to Rebalance, Repair and Restore your skin so you look and feel amazing.

DID YOU KNOW THAT?

From 2014- 2016 there were around 16,000 new melanoma skin cancer cases in the UK every year? That’s 44 every day

Melanoma skin cancer is the 5th most common cancer in the UK in both males and females.

Since the early 1990s, melanoma skin cancer incidence rates have more than doubled in the UK with the rate increasing faster in men.

Hard-hitting facts hey?

It’s even more hard-hitting when 80% of these melanoma skin cancers are considered preventable.

So I would like to tell you about my journey in the industry, why we have rebranded and how to keep your skin healthy so you can protect your skin from cancer and to give you the confidence that we all deserve.

I want to start by talking about confidence.  Confidence was a big issue for me growing up.  I went away to boarding school from the age of 7.  I actually (on the whole) loved it at that age, it was like a big adventure, something out of Enid Blyton and as my older brother and sister had already left to be at boarding school themselves, the family unit wasn’t there.  School became my family.

Things changed when I moved into secondary school.  The security I had disappeared and friendships changed.  All at a time when we were hitting puberty as well so had that to also deal with.  I lost my confidence, which affected my mental health and I felt that no-one liked me.

Eventually, I recognised that the problem lay with me and I literally gave myself a good talking to.  One school holiday I remember well, I decided that I was going to go back with a much more positive mindset and basically “fake it until I make it”.  It’s easier said than done, but I did get through the rest of my school life and although I can’t describe them as my happiest time it was ok.

It was in my early teens that I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in beauty and skin. Being decisive in my career choice gave me something to strive towards and stability that I craved, and it was a career that worked on how people felt about themselves.

A question I want to put to you…….How does wearing a new item of clothing make you feel?  I guess it depends on the item of clothing and each item has its own meaning.  That special dress that you wore to the party that makes you feel sexy, those jeans that you feel so comfortable in, the blouse that makes you feel business like.  Different clothes for different occasions and they can be changed and disposed of easily in this throw away world.   How would it make you feel if your skin was damaged, you suffered with acne or had excess hair growing in places you don’t want it to?  I have literally had people in tears when they tell me about how these conditions affect them mentally and how when we have transformed them, they leave the clinic with the biggest smile.

Your skin is your one biggest accessory that you can’t strip off and try and new one to suit your mood.  It is with you everyday and is the first thing that people see when they meet you.  You, of course, can change your makeup to suit your mood, which can enhance your skin, but that’s what it should do, enhance a beautiful skin.

When I discovered Environ as a brand about 15 years ago I resonated with the brand straight away. My sister had been afflicted with malignant melanoma in her late 20’s.  Luckily it was removed successfully but I was looking for a brand that could protect against this. Here were products that could achieve results in skin in a far more powerful way than I had been able to until now.   The reason that they could provide results is that they contain potent active ingredients that work to repair the skin. Being in my 30’s my skin was generally good, but it was dry and no amount of moisturiser seemed to fix the problem in a permanent way.  I started using Environ products myself before I decided to take it on as a brand and offer it to my clients.

The transformation in my skin was incredible.  My skin was typically really dry, but after a few months of using the products my own Natural Moisturising Factor had kicked in, that meant the active ingredients were actually working on repairing the skin that I had rather abused.  Yes, I had slapped myself with baby oil and literally cooked myself in the sun as a teenager, until I was so bright red that I was in pain and my skin peeled.   I know other people who have told me that they have literally lain down on silver foil in the hope to tan. Since when have we wanted to be a cooked chicken? Smoking hadn’t helped either.

As the years have gone on, I have to admit to adding new products, skin supplements and treatments into my skincare regime to ensure that I get stronger results. Skin changes, especially as we age and we need to adapt.  I was sticking on a maintenance programme, which was great and was maintaining it.  However, to get even better results I needed more serums in my regime and to take more skin specific supplements. The results that I achieved over the period of a year was amazing, the pigmentation and sun damage really reduced. It’s like someone took an eraser to my skin.  I now fit some treatments into my schedule and can honestly say that I love my skin.  Yes, I go out and buy clothes that make me feel great too, but I don’t get it when people don’t want to spend any money on their skin.  We can’t throw it away, it’s the only one we have and we often don’t take care of it.  It’s susceptible to wear and tear and we need to feed it what it needs to keep it healthy and glowing.  How many of you pick up a cheap moisturiser in the supermarket believing all products are the same and at least you are doing something with it?  Or choose the cream based on whether we like the smell?

Vitamin A is THE magic ingredient for our skin.  It’s what we all need to create healthy, young skin.  Here are the main benefits:

Photos for blog - benefits of Vitamin A

Vitamin A has a vital role in skin health as it has a direct effect on our cell DNA to ensure that only healthy cells are produced.  There isn’t any alternative.  It has been known for decades that Vitamin A is vital for healthy skin.  Wise and Sulzberger suggested in 1938 that the reason that sun exposed skin is wrinkled whereas sun-protected skin is not, is that the Vitamin A in the sun exposed skin had been damaged by sunlight.  Basically, leading to a chronic vitamin deficiency.  It couldn’t be proved at the time, but later research did go on to prove it.

Women also have an added disadvantage because blood levels of vitamin A drop when they menstruate, leading to more vulnerability to photodamage during this part of the cycle.

A scary fact for you: It has been estimated that if you spend a day at the beach and get a good tan, then you have probably destroyed more than 90% of the vitamin A in your skin.

To replenish this naturally you would have to stay in a dark room for about 5 – 7 days.

However, you can speed things up by applying the vitamin A directly to the skin.

Vitamin A is only part of the story for protecting the skin from the sun.  What do you think is the other? A good SPF.  This needs to be used all year round to ensure protection against the damaging rays of UVA which actually penetrate our skin much deeper than UVB and also cause cancer.  UVA penetrates our windows and is in our lights and computer screens.  Google the truck driver whose face has been affected by UVA.  It’s real and do important that act on this.

Skin treatments

We have lots of treatments that can make dramatic skin changes for many different skin conditions. This is the results of someone we are treating for pigmentation with a treatment called Cosmelan and this is the results after only 6 days and this will get better still.

before & after

Skin treatments aren’t the only treatments that we offer.  We also offer a full range of hair removal treatments, whether permanent hair removal, such as laser and electrolysis to waxing and threading.

Hair removal

Our mission is to treat the skin non-invasively with natural methods rather than injecting the skin with toxins such as Botox.  We have so many different treatments to offer these results and we can bespoke these treatments to ensure that we offer you the most personalised programme which suits you, your budget and the results you are looking for.  It’s not unaffordable at all and an Environ moisturiser at £48 is equal to many cosmetic brands on the market that really don’t impact the skin at all.  You’re probably using some of these brands already, such as Clarins, so it’s not a big change financially but a massive change on the skin.  If you were to sacrifice your daily coffee from the local coffee shop then you could treat yourself and your skin to a monthly treatment.  Treatments don’t have to be expensive either with a bespoke facial starting from just £50.  A homecare package starts around £200 for topical skincare, supplements and protective make-up containing SPF, £500 for homecare and treatments to £1000 plus for the crème de la crème.  We really can tailor it for you.  Ladies, think about what we can spend on meals out, takeaways and alcohol.

Here are a couple of other before and after images:

Before and after eyelid lift

before and after laser skin

If you fancy finding out how we can help you with your bespoke skin journey, then the best thing to do is book in for a skin analysis.  As part of the ladies lunches you are welcome to a complementary analysis worth £50.  Please just email us on contactus@sarahhurstskinclinic.co.uk and we’ll send your voucher to you.  We also plan on holding a series of events this year to showcase our treatments, so if you fancy being added to the database so you can get your invite then please also email us.

I love my skin and we’d love to help you love yours.

Eastbourne Newsletter – January 2020

The next Eastbourne lunch will be on 24th January 2020, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM, at the Grand Hotel, sponsored by Humphrey & Co - Book Here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsor

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Humphrey & Co

Humphrey & Co Charity Fundraising Update

During 2019 we have supported The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and are very appreciative to all members of our staff who have helped to raise money for this very worthy cause. In total we have raised in excess of £4,800 from a range of fundraising activities including a Fun  Run, Pool League and Tea Party! For more information on the charity please visit: www.jdrf.org.uk

The firm is pleased to announce that for 2020 we will be supporting not one but two charities. The Eastbourne Foodbank and Hangleton and West Blatchington Foodbank are local to our offices in Eastbourne and Hove. Foodbanks are here to support those in the local community who do not have sufficient funds to buy their own food and essential toiletries, whilst also offering advice and support groups to those in need.

We will be supporting both charities by collecting food to donate throughout the year and also donating the money raised through various fundraising activities. To kick start our fundraising for the year our first donation will be £500 to each charity.

For more information visit: www.eastbourne.foodbank.org.uk and www.hangletonfoodbank.org

Brighton Newsletter – January 2020

The next Brighton lunch will be on 4th February 2020, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM, at the Hotel du Vin, sponsored by Harvey John - Book Here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsors:

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Harvey John

Kick-start your job search in 2020

Much as it pains me to say it, the New Year has indeed begun. 2020 has kicked off and memories of the blissful Christmas week off have quickly started to fade away. Now that we’ve returned to harsh reality, those optimistic resolutions have started to seem like just a little bit too much work. But while it might be too cold and dark to go out jogging, and Veganuary or Dry January may be much less fun than you suspected, it’s easier to make positive steps to kick-start your career this year than you might have thought.

If you want to find yourself a great new job by 2021, here are 3 simple steps you can take to kick-start that process.

Update your CV

It’s a task dreaded by most, but a necessary one for anybody looking for a new job. Updating your CV now will achieve two very helpful goals.

Firstly, if you’ve been in the same job for a while, then it’s probably been years since you last updated your CV. You’ve probably now accrued experience that’s far more significant and interesting than most of what is on there. The old document that hides in some dusty corner of your hard drive likely describes a very different professional than the one you’ve become. By taking the time to update your CV, you give yourself the opportunity to reflect. You can consider the experience you’ve gained, the skills you’ve acquired, and the confidences and competencies you’ve developed. Reflecting on your past, and your present, can give you a much clearer insight into where you want to go, and where you would succeed, in future. This will help you focus your job search for the year ahead, and potentially help you think of avenues you may not have thought of previously.

Updating your CV now also gets one of the least enjoyable aspects of job hunting out of the way, and means you’ll be prepared for jobs when they come along. Instead of making excuses when a new job posting appears (‘it’s too much work to update my CV, I’ll never manage to do it by the deadline’), you can be ready for action straight away.

For tips on writing your CV, check out our blog ‘Get your CV to the top of the pile’ and keep and eye out for these things to leave out in ‘CVs: 5 things to avoid’.

Polish your LinkedIn profile

Arguably even more important than your CV is your LinkedIn profile. While your CV can only be seen by those you send it to, your LinkedIn profile is always on display, presenting an image of you to the professional world. This allows you to be found by colleagues and potential employers, building your professional network and increasing the number of opportunities open to you.

By building a robust profile that details your skills and experience, you will increase your chances of being contacted about relevant opportunities. For more information on how to build a LinkedIn profile that draws the right kind of recruiter attention, take a look at this blog.

Make contact with a recruiter

Speaking of recruiters… why put lots of effort into hunting for a new job this year, when you can enlist the services of a top recruiter to do it for you (read more about choosing one recruiter to work with)? At Harvey John we take the time to get to know you and what it is you are looking for in your next job. You might not want to move right away, and we might not have any jobs for you right away – but by making contact and establishing a relationship now, you can be sure that we will get in touch when those great opportunities come along. Not only does this mean that you don’t have to keep your eye on job boards yourself, but it also means that we can offer opportunities through our connections that aren’t even advertised. For more information about finding and working with one great recruiter, check out this blog.

So this week, why not update your CV, polish up your LinkedIn profile, and get in touch with Harvey John for accountancytax and legal jobs. Not only will you take care of some of the job-hunting hard work now, but you will also put yourself in a better position to discover and apply for great opportunities throughout the year.

Hove Newsletter – December 2019

The next Hove lunch will be on 14th January 2020, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM, at the Ginger Pig Pub, sponsored by Sarah Hurst Skin Clinic - Book here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsors

blend-logo

Whitespace

&

Viisana logo

ViiSana

ViiSana | We’ve rebranded!

Since we started back in 2015, we’ve offered life and health insurance with a difference, and our mission was simple – to encourage our clients to take small steps to a healthier life whilst protecting themselves, their families and their businesses.

We’ve learnt a great deal along the way, winning awards as we have gone – recognising the unique approach we take in the market. Our offering has developed and strengthened, and as a result of this we have decided to refresh our brand and logo’s, so that they truly reflect what our business has to offer.

Why the change?

Our brand lies at the heart of our business and is derived from the Spanish term ‘Vida Sana’ – to lead a healthy life. As we continue to add new products to our proposition, we felt that our brand needed capture our mission – to help our clients take control of their lives, health and wealth.

 

There is no change to our ownership, and we remain a privately-owned family run business.

 

Our vision

Our new logo represents our promise to help clients make life-changing decisions to reduce potentially life-changing risks. We want to present our brand clearly, without ambiguity and for it to demonstrate our offering in a straightforward way. We believe that we have achieved this with a logo and strapline that reflects our maturity as a company and is bold and clear, representing the company that stands behind it.

If you have any questions regarding the changes or indeed feedback, please do let me know.  For more news on this and other exciting developments, please follow us on social media; Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit our website viisana.com.

Brighton Newsletter – December 2019

The next Brighton lunch will be on 10th December 2019, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM, at the Grand Hotel, sponsored by Harvey John - Book Here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsors:

HJ-Logo

Harvey John

Ask a recruiter: How many accountancy partners in Brighton and Hove are women?

Tune in for our latest blog in the ‘Ask a recruiter’ series, where we share questions our candidates have about anything within and outside of the job search process. In case you missed it, our previous blog answered the question of finding work at a startup vs corporate company.

This week we’ve decided to answer a question posed by a client of ours to change things up a bit and discuss a query about Brighton and Hove firms.

During a recent meeting, a hiring manager at a notable Sussex firm posed the question: ”What proportion of partners at accounting firms are women?”

I wasn’t entirely sure of the answer, but being interested, I decided to look into it.

To gain an insight, I looked at 17 chartered accountancy firms in Brighton and Hove – all of which had more than 1 partner (or in the case of no partner, directors). What I found was this: of 80 partners/directors I measured, 11 were women – just 13.8%, which is 4.2% lower than the national average*.

Partners: Women vs Men

While this initial research is in no way conclusive (the approach in selecting the firms involved being a little less than scientific), it does give an interesting insight into the gender balance at the top of our local firms.

Though this looks to be the case locally, the gender imbalance within senior positions is shifting at the national level. Just last month, Alison Rose was named as the first female leader of a Big 4 bank – and a broader shift can be seen in the trends across the FTSE 350**. In the last 8 years, the number of all male boards has decreased from 152 to just 5 – a 96.7% drop.

However, for accountancy firms, national data indicates something of a bottleneck. Firms included in the top 50+50 survey showed that 45% of qualified accountants were female, demonstrating a 27% disparity between women accessing the sector and those making partner.

There are still substantial barriers preventing women from rising to senior levels which require addressing and solutions. However, the pressing question now is: What can firms in Brighton and Hove do to remove these barriers?

——–

https://www.accountancyage.com/2018/09/19/top-5050-how-diverse-are-top-uk-accountancy-firms/

** https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/sep/22/alison-rose-rbs-watershed-moment-women-management

——–

Tune in for our next instalment of ‘Ask a recruiter’. If you want to get in touch about a question you’d like to ask us, contact our team.

Alice Cahill is a Recruitment Consultant in the Accountancy Division at Harvey John.

Eastbourne Newsletter – December 2019

The next Eastbourne lunch will be on 24th January 2020, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM, at the Grand Hotel, sponsored by Humphrey & Co - Book Here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsor

H&Co_logo_hi-res

Humphrey & Co

Christmas Gifts

At this time of year, it is worth revisiting the tax rules surrounding Christmas gifts and parties:-

Client Christmas gifts

  • Businesses cannot claim a tax deduction for client entertaining (such as a meal or Christmas drinks for clients)
  • Where clients attend your Christmas party, the costs have to be apportioned between them and employees for tax purposes
  • Business gifts to clients are not normally allowed as a deduction against profits – they are treated in the same way as business entertaining.

There are exceptions:-

  1. Gifts of free samples of your products are 100% tax-deductible
  2. Gifts carrying your business advertising or branding are tax-deductible (e.g. mugs, diaries or pens), but only up to £50 per person per annum. However, gifts of food, drink, tobacco and vouchers receive no tax deduction.
  3. Christmas cards to clients and prospects are considered an office expense and are deductible, provided they carry a clear advertisement for the company sending them.
  • VAT on client entertaining is not recoverable. You can reclaim the input VAT on gifts acquired for business purposes, which would include gifts for customers which meet the above conditions.

Staff Christmas gifts

A gift to an employee is tax-deductible provided that it is wholly and exclusively incurred for the purpose of your business. A seasonal gift is considered to pass this test. A gift made by an employer to an employee is not taxed as an employment benefit provided that it meets the criteria for being a trivial benefit. A trivial benefit is one that is non-contractual, costs £50 or less per employee, is not cash or a voucher, and is not for services performed. If the cost exceeds £50, the whole benefit is taxed, not just the excess.

HMRC have traditionally treated the following seasonal gifts as ‘trivial’ benefits:-

  1. A turkey
  2. A box of chocolates
  3. A bottle of ordinary wine

 Staff Christmas parties

Provided the staff Christmas party meets certain rules, they are free of tax and National Insurance Contributions.

The party must be open to all employees and the cost to the employer must not exceed £150 per head (including VAT, taxis and overnight accommodation), this being the total cost of the party divided by the total number of people attending (including non-employees).

Where the cost is less than £150 per head, the unused element could be spent on another staff function (perhaps in the summer) – provided the annual aggregate spend does not exceed the £150 per head limit. If the limit is exceeded, you can choose the lower costing event as taxable.