HMRC Taskforces Map

Are you on the map? HMRC’s map.

Lewis Smith & Co. frequently highlights HMRC’s drive to uncover tax evasion and the knock-on impact of investigations on, completely innocent, small businesses.

Now HMRC has created a site ( that shows the locations and the business sectors targeted by its investigation taskforces.

These investigators reclaimed as much as £248m in evaded tax in the 2015-2016 tax year, helped by the introduction of sophisticated new IT systems.

If you want to know how likely it is that you or your business might come under scrutiny, then the top ten investigation targets are as follows;

  1. Hidden wealth
  2. Adult entertainment
  3. Tobacco sellers
  4. Property sector
  5. Shops
  6. Income tax repayments
  7. Taxi drivers
  8. Waste industry

If you are concerned about getting a call from the taxman or you have already received one, remember Lewis Smith & Co. can help. We can act as your representative in all dealings with the HMRC, and use our knowledge and experience to respond to queries concerning accounts and tax returns.

Contact Andrew or Craig to arrange a free informal discussion of your needs today. Call 01384 235549 or email, today.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Stourbridge business? Need an accountant? 

Self-Build? Reclaim VAT

New builds and property conversions could be a little cheaper

reclaim VAT on new builds and property conversionThe popularity of programmes such as Grand Designs shows that there is an appetite for people to create a home that’s just that bit different.

What you may not have realised is that you can get a refund of VAT on building materials and services for your project, under some circumstances.

VAT is refundable if you are constructing a new house, or converting a property into a home.  To qualify the home must be separate and self-contained and not be for business use (single-room home offices are OK).  VAT for builder’s services on new buildings is already zero-rated.

Unless planning conditions state that facades or features must be retained, existing buildings must be demolished to qualify as new build. Refunds for builders’ work are also provided where a non-residential property is being converted or if a residential property has been vacant for more than 10 years.

Remember to keep records of all of the building plans, planning permissions, inspection reports and invoices associated with your project, to back up your claim for a refund.

If you need any help sorting out VAT associated with your self-build project just get in contact.

Call 01384 235549 or email today.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Accountants for businesses in Tipton

Charity Begins at “Cardiac Hill”

Lewis Smith & Co. director-duo complete 8.5 fun run

Dudley accountants charity fun run

Andrew Smith and Craig Beale from a previous Fun Run

Directors Andrew Smith and Craig Beale yet again dragged themselves around the Great Midlands Fun Run recently.

The run, which starts and finishes in Sutton Coldfield town centre, is renowned for its “tricky” moments as it traverses Sutton Park including the oh-so steep Cardiac Hill at mile 6.

This year Andrew was running in support of Cancer Research while Craig carried on the tradition of supporting local charity the Friends of Alfie Johnson.

Although your memories of June 5th will almost certainly include blue skies and hot sun, it was surprisingly cold on the start line.  Things only hotted up as the course approached the entrance to the park, and the clouds parted.  Fortunately there were a large number of spectators on hand to offer encouragement and, in some cases, sprays of cold water to keep people going.

In previous years the rivalry between the dynamic duo has seen some very close finishing times.  This time around Craig took a family-oriented view of proceedings and made his way round, children in tow, at a comfortable 2 hours plus.  Andrew on the other hand showed his normal determination and shaved a minute off last year’s time to make it round in 1 hour 23 minutes.

As always Craig provided words of praise for his colleague:

“It was a fast time by Andrew’s standards.  But there were still 1, 623 people ahead of him. Better luck next time.

Most importantly their efforts have contributed greatly towards their chosen charities.  This year Team Alfie’s ranks were swollen by the addition of over 200 students from Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls.  This is likely to have massively increased the amount of donations they receive to help disabled children when the final tally is made in November.

Lewis Smith & Co. is continuing with its community spirit as it sponsors two tables at the forthcoming Friends of Alfie Johnson Summer Ball in July.

You may not want to contact us for advice on running but we are available to help you on accountancy, tax and business advice matters.  Just call 01384 235549 or email


Lewis Smith & Co. – Accountants for Dudley business




Logistics Client Drives 60% T/O Increase

Making Sense of the Numbers

Birmingham pallet freight businessLong standing Lewis Smith & Co. client “Möbile – people.powered.logistics” is reaping the benefits of a modernisation and rebranding programme it started last year.

The Birmingham-based company, which was founded 35 years ago under the name Mobile Freight Services, has seen turnover increase by nearly 60% to £4.1m.  That is an incredible achievement in such a competitive industry as transport and logistics.

Commercial Director Ian Jolly says that the company’s new name holds the answer to its success:

“We added to our vehicle fleet and the technology that goes with it, but more importantly we continued to invest in our people.

Möbile has an excellent working environment that brings a high standard of customer care and low staff turnover.  We are known for getting deliveries right first time and sorting out queries straight away.”

Palletised Freight Distributors in Birmingham - Send it Möbile 2016-06-03 10-28-14Lewis Smith & Co. has been able to help the company manage through this growth phase by providing regular financial analysis and reporting.  It’s very much a hands-on service with our people operating as part of the Möbile team.

Ian says that Möbile benefits from Lewis Smith & Co.’s objective financial perspective:

“Andrew (Smith) and his staff supplement our understanding of the business with their skill in making sense of the numbers.

The detailed budgets, clear forecasts and effective reporting that Lewis Smith & Co. have helped us develop are key tools in enabling our expansion.”

Möbile is heading towards a further 25% increase in turnover by the end of the year as it continues to win contracts for palletised freight distribution and dedicated transport systems.  It is showing its commitment to growth by setting up a driver apprenticeship scheme to develop the skills of some young recruits.

Andrew Smith, director at Lewis Smith & Co. believes that Möbile is a great example of what happens when you put passion and precision together:

“Möbile is really serious about delivering excellence.  The business operation is set-up to exceed customer expectations and the financial operation makes sure that what happens is profitable.  This is a company that will go far.”

For more information about Möbile – people.powered.logistics visit

To discuss how Lewis Smith & Co. can help you grow your business set up an appointment today. Call 01384 235549 or email


Lewis Smith & Co. – Moving accountants is easier than you think. Try us today.

Concerned about tax inspections?

You don’t have to do anything wrong to be inspected

tax inspection protectionHMRC has the right to investigate your financial affairs whenever it likes.

Enquiries can be started entirely at random whether you have done something to arouse their suspicion or not.

This means that businesses of all sizes and categories have been subject to investigations of business records, tax returns, and PAYE/NIC/CIS/VAT compliance.

Even if your records are completely compliant and you have clearly done nothing wrong this can be a time consuming and potentially costly experience.

Lewis Smith & Co. has offered a Tax Enquiry Fee Protection Service, Taxwise Plus, to help you mitigate the costs of an investigation should you be selected by HMRC.

For an annual fee starting at only £125 exc. VAT you’ll get all of Lewis Smith & Co.’s considerable experience in dealing with the tax man without paying a penny more.

  • Lewis Smith & Co. will represent you for all compliance visits.
  • We will defend you against HMRC enquiries into your business or personal affairs.
  • You are covered for up to £75,000 of our fees in representing you.
The service has saved a number of our clients several thousand pounds on the costs of responding to enquiries and compliance visits. It has also more than paid for itself for other clients when they have needed to respond to initial enquiry letters and provide explanations of accounts and tax returns.
If you want more information then check out the Fee Protection page on our website or contact Andrew or Craig to arrange a free informal discussion of your needs.  Call 01384 235549 or email, today.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Providing accountancy services for Stourbridge businesses for nearly 30 years

Quarterly Returns

Can you handle it?

Quarterly digital tax returnsAt the end of last year the government published a corporate report titled “making tax digital” (PDF opens in a new tab), which set out how HMRC would make the tax system “more effective, more efficient and easier for taxpayers”.

A lot of what report has to say may be broadly welcomed by businesses, large or small.  The report lays out a desire to simplify taxation by, for instance, making sure all of the systems that held relevant data are joined up.  It seeks to encourage further digitisation to speed up transactions, improve accuracy and reduce the opportunity for fraud.  It also seeks to make sure that HMRC offers a single point of contact to customers what ever their query.

As the Americans would say there is a lot of “motherhood and apple pie”.

One of the points raised in the report has raised alarm bells in the business community and amongst the accountancy profession. The point is stated blandly “businesses will keep their records using digital tools and send that information at least quarterly to HMRC”.

Although the “R-word” isn’t used, many commentators have said that this means quarterly returns will be required from limited companies, the self-employed and landlords. Software and apps may be made available to help the process but it may require greater on-going, diligence in collecting and managing data, and having more to do with us as accountants.

Lewis Smith & Co. will keep you posted on any news of what the government does on this topic, although the EU referendum and the Summer recess means that it will probably be Autumn before any formal activity.

As partners for both Xero and KashFlow online accounting packages we can offer help and advice on the process of going digital.  As to the advent of quarterly returns, you can be assured that we will do our best to minimise any cost implications.

If you have any questions about the impact of “making tax digital” on your business call us today on 01384 235549 or email us at


Lewis Smith & Co. – A complete tax planning service for businesses, partnerships, sole traders and social enterprises.


Directors Loans or Dividends?

charge interest on directors loan account credit balances instead of using dividends Could you save tax?

The shake-up of dividend taxation announced in the last budget lead us to to say that the key to tax planning now is to look at “total tax liability”.

That means it is worth us introducing a new tax saving angle to consider: using your directors loan account.  It doesn’t apply to everybody but it could present a good opportunity for some of you.

Paying a market rate of interest on directors’ loan account credit balances is now more tax efficient than paying dividends, once the new £5,000 dividend allowance has been used. This is because higher rate tax payers face a 32.5% tax rate on dividends.

Note, the company is still required to deduct 20% basic rate income tax and pay this quarterly using form CT61.

If you are unsure whether this applies to you just get in touch for a no-obligation discussion.

We’ll be able to tell you very quickly whether more detailed tax planning will help.

Call 01384 235549 or email today.



Lewis Smith & Co. – Tax planning service. Income tax, CT, CGT and VAT


Employment Allowance – Single Director Companies

Employment allowance no entitlement for single directors£3,000 allowance is not for you

You may have seen in our budget coverage that the allowance for employers to set against their National Insurance liability has been increase to £3,000 in this tax year.

However if you are the director of a limited company where you are the only employee being paid above the secondary threshold for class 1 NICs, then sadly you won’t be able to claim it.

If you are unsure about the implications of this on your tax position then get in touch today.

Call 01384 235549 or email to arrange an appointment.


Lewis Smith & Co. – Accountants for Brierley Hill businesses.


Image source: Flickr courtesy of Dave Crosby