A progressive, South West based accountancy practice



“A client’s old accountant signed them up as a limited company, but they didn’t find out until 5 1/2 months later when they moved to Numbers and started trading. When their year end came and went, family issues and COVID meant that they weren’t able to come up with their year-end records in time for the deadline.

I have come up with a workaround so that they don’t receive any penalties from HMRC or Companies House”


“In the very short time that I have been working at Numbers, I have managed to generate corporation tax refunds for two clients. I was able to generate tax refunds that equated to £489.63 for one client & £2,243.33 for another client.”

Please feel free to give us a call and come in for a chat if you’d like to know how we can help you! We won’t charge you for the initial meeting.

We need to act now to avoid Tier 2 restrictions

The rate of COVID-19 cases has now exceeded 130 cases per 100,000 and the numbers are still increasing. The city is on the cusp of a Tier 2 level which means tougher restrictions – no more than one household or support bubble meeting indoors, and only six outdoors. We can expect to enter Tier 2 within a matter of days if this trend continues. However, if we act now, we may be able to make a difference, so we hope alerting the city early enough will prevent us hitting Tier 2.

Most businesses are doing everything possible and feedback from the Health and Safety Executive shows good levels of compliance from our businesses. So far Plymouth has avoided tighter restrictions, but more than ever it is absolutely essential that we are all complying fully, being COVID aware and helping to stay out of Tier 2, protecting your business, your employees and the economy.

  • Safe premises means social distancing, sticking to the rule of six where applicable, coverings on and sanitiser available, with good ventilation and clear information about how to comply
  • Compliance is not optional – we need customers to follow our lead and keep safe
  • If staff can work from home, they should; make it easy for them to do so
  • Employees told to self isolate need and deserve your support – refer them to the help available if needs be: 

More information and support on compliance is available here

The government has recently given us further enforcement powers and while we only want to use them as a last resort, we will do so in order to protect our city. Action has already been taken against one licensed venue through a fixed penalty notice. Fines in excess of £10,000 can be levied so we hope we don’t have to take more action, as this is about stopping COVID-19, not penalising businesses.

Tier 2 will see all of our businesses affected by the limitations on households mixing indoors. I cannot stress how imperative it is everyone across the city understands the seriousness of COVID-19 and the consequences for our community. We must work together in order to protect our health, our NHS, our families, friends and our economy.

Much has been said about the impact of the restrictions – the actions we have been taking ARE working, as we can see from the level of R, but more needs to be done. The R rate before we had any restrictions was 2.5 to 3; it dropped below 1 during the spring, and remained low in the summer. It is currently at 1.3 and we need to get it back down.

Help and Support

How can we help you?

We understand that everyone will have different needs or concerns and it is important for the Public Health Team to be able to address those, equipping everyone with the support they need in order to keep Plymouth safe.

Part of our current insight work is looking how we can better help people across the city; if there is anything that we can provide which will benefit the business community, please share these with us: COVID19@plymouth.gov.uk. You can also contact us with any queries you have too.

Tap in to our tax expertise!

Steve met with an employed client who was under pressure to give away part of his bonus to help out his employer. This represented a change in his contractual terms, so Steve was able to utilise a couple of tax exemptions to eliminate tax and NIC on the full bonus. 

The client received his full bonus and the employer saves over £80,000 by implementing Steve’s ideas.

Needless to say, both are delighted.

Rachael’s hard work pays off

Many of you will know that Rachael, our Practice Manager, has been studying part time with The Open University for the last five years to gain a degree. She received her classification email recently and is ‘over the moon’ with the result, giving her a 2.1 in Business Management with leadership. We have benefitted over these past years from her input, as Numbers grew in size, but more importantly in expertise.

Sadly, because of the pandemic, she can’t have a graduation ceremony this year – hopefully we can post some pictures of a 2021 ceremony.

We are chuffed to bits for her – well done Rachael!


Statement of policy on Covid-19 containment


As a forward-thinking firm, we spend most of our lives helping clients stay ahead of the taxman and their competition.

One of the biggest challenges we face as small businesses, right now, is the threat of Covid-19 (aka Coronavirus).

We have team members who are vulnerable people (as defined by Government), and many of you have vulnerable family members. In order to protect them, and you, we have been early adopters of some preventative measures.

What we are doing

We have developed a two-stage approach to try and prevent the spread of this virus, and to limit the damage it might cause to our clients if it does hit us.

Stage 1

We will be holding all meetings via Skype, Zoom or on the phone until 31 May, where possible. This will be a new experience for many of you, and we can help you get set up for this if necessary.

Where it is impossible to avoid a visit to our office, we will not shake your hands, and will ask you to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds on arrival. We have a selection of song lyrics that will help you time your handwashing and hopefully lighten the atmosphere a little. Check the cloakroom mirrors for your selection.

Stage 2

If the Government recommend office closures, we will be working from home. We have tested our homeworking structures, and they work very well.

Most of our clients now deliver their records in electronic form, so we should be relatively unaffected.

If you are not currently using digital technology, we can help you get set up. Please call the office for guidance.

We appreciate that some of you still need to drop things to the office on occasion. To ensure you are not disadvantaged, we will open the office each day for a short period. Please call the office to check we are open.

If you need to visit the office, this is what you’ll find….

On arrival, you will find the door unlocked and a box just inside to the left to receive your books and records.

Please place the records in the box, say a cheery goodbye and enjoy the rest of your day.

Our team member will complete the ‘books in’ form, sign it on your behalf, and cover the box with a dated lid.

Government guidance (COVID-19:guidance for employers and businesses) states that the amount of virus left on surfaces is significantly reduced after 72 hours. In order to be on the safe side, the box will be removed to our upstairs office and left unopened for a week. Thereafter, your paperwork will be processed in the usual way.

Please phone the office if you have any queries. We have prepared a few FAQs which may save the you the hassle of a phone call. Please see the attached sheet.

Hopefully these simple steps will mean a speedy return to normal working.

Please read our Covid-19 FAQs.

Wake up and smell the coffee

Steve met with a client recently who recognised a need to change if he was to develop a business to support his family. A three-hour meeting uncovered numerous ways in which Chris can boost his income and profits and protect his good quality (but expensive) office coffee!!

The election is over – what now?


The campaigning is over and we have a new Government, with a significant majority. The result is being described as “historic” and “an earthquake”. 

Good businesses have always looked ahead, so this brief article is designed to help us all think about what happens next year and beyond. 

Assuming the promises are honoured (I make no comment on that!), here’s what we can expect over the next five years, and the action business owners can take now. 

What is in store? 

I am focusing on purely tax and business matters. 

Taxation of income and expenditure 

The Tories have promised to keep income tax and VAT at current rates. The planned cut in corporation tax will be cancelled, so the rate of 19% will remain. There will be a cut in NIC worth £100 next year, and the intention is to increase the cut to £500 by the end of the Parliament. That would mean an increase in the NIC threshold to £9,500 from April 2020 and going to £12,500 eventually. 

This would set the foundation for merging income tax and NIC, but there’s no firm indication that this will be considered. 

In a boost to small business, the limit for the employment allowance will increase from £3,000 to £4,000. This is a real cash saving of £1,000 a year. 

The Digital Services Tax, while not affecting most businesses directly, could lead to increased charges from the “big six” online marketplace providers. 

There is a planned increase to the rate of R&D tax relief, which makes this source of cash/funding an even more important consideration for particularly smaller companies. 

The plans are broadly tax neutral, with a slight increase in the tax take. 

Taxation of capital and wealth 

The “triple lock” pledge on income tax, NIC and VAT lead many to think that capital taxes will be raised. There are changes to CGT already coming into place from 5 April 2020, which will produce a one-off boost to the Exchequer of between £5bn and £8bn in 2020/21. 

The restrictions include a cut in the deemed period of PPR to nine months, and the practical abolition of lettings relief. 

There’s no mention of IHT in the manifesto, but at the last Tory party conference, there was a declaration of intent to abolish Inheritance Tax. Whether this makes its way into the first budget remains to be seen. 

The Tories announced an intention to reduce the maximum SDLT rate from 15% to 7% at their conference in the autumn of 2019. An increase in the threshold to £500,000 would remove a majority of transactions out of the tax net. Again, there’s nothing in the manifesto to tell us if this will be implemented.  

Business matters 

Further business rates reforms are promised, giving targeted reductions of £320m. 

More money is promised to improve the energy efficiency of homes, road repairs and re-opening railways as well as improving flood defences, provides opportunities to businesses in construction, energy efficiency and engineering. There’ll be more funding for childcare, which creates opportunities for expansion of existing providers, and bringing in new providers to the market. 

Action required 

A review of the benefits of incorporating a sole trade or partnership should be revisited. 

Companies which are making small profits should consider disincorporation. (Taking into account the other benefits from limited liability and their individual succession plans). 

Homeowners should weigh up whether to get their property sold before 5 April 2020, or to wait until the possible cut in SDLT which may help to boost the sale price. Owners with a fleet of ten or more letting properties should take tax advice as there may be a way to secure both advantages. 

Businesses which innovate or find ways around technical and other challenges should consider whether incorporation will secure an increasingly valuable R&D tax credit. 

Be ready for a budget in January or early February and look out for a review of the detailed proposals. We’ll be covering live so watch out for (now traditional) coverage! 

Steven Carey 

13 December 2019