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22 December 2016 Halesworth & Southwold Community News .


FINANCIAL FOCUS ON............. ……… Concerning your affairs


I HAD an interesting telephone call at home a while back. A well-spoken and very polite gentleman called to say that he was from the Inland Revenue and had noticed I had an overpayment of tax on my records that had accrued over the past couple of years. As the Inland Revenue were trialling a new telephone service to save written administration when the amounts overpaid are only a hundred pounds or so, he was calling me to go through my tax affairs on the phone and if correct, then issue the refund. This was obviously a scam designed to empty my bank account, but with the number withheld and my mobile phone out of reach there was little I could do at that moment to have the call traced and so I decided to have a chat with the caller to find out the extent of their knowledge. Over the course of the next few minutes, I found out that they had a number of my personal details correct and that the caller enjoyed


his work very much (I bet he did). The caller also knew my employer’s details but critically (for them) not what I did for a living. Obviously they weren’t a reader of my column, for when they found out that I was a genuine, qualified taxation adviser there was a very loud click as the phone was put down at the other end and strangely they have not called back since. It is a sad fact that cons and


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scams are becoming more and more prevalent as, no matter how hard you try, more and more information about us can be sourced from the internet, social media (even if not our own), our shopping habits and so on. The schemes themselves are becoming more and more sophisticated as we see fewer begging letters from abroad seeking assistance to rescue trapped millions in some far off bank or winnings from lotteries from abroad that you can never actually remember entering. Instead, the scams today are much more plausible


with official-looking letters and emails using copied logos and headed notepaper often using official terms written in official language. They are becoming much harder to spot although there are a few tell- tale signs to watch out for in correspondence: The English is not quite grammatically correct – who uses the phrase “fiscal activity” in relation to one’s earnings? Any references used do


not actually match with your own paperwork; You weren’t expecting to get a refund or you don’t remember entering the competition; They will ask you for your bank/credit card details or PIN numbers; The Inland Revenue no longer exists – it is now HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC); HMRC very rarely use email to ask questions (and rarer still phone you up). In a phone call, a scammer


will often pretend to be from a telephone or computer company and then try to trick you into believing that there is


a problem with your equipment (if this happens simply thank them for letting you know, put the phone down and get someone else to check it for you) or if your phone appears to be dead, redial using a mobile or a neighbour’s telephone to check. Never call back using the telephone number that they give you. For businesses, be extremely


wary of new banking or payment instructions appearing to come from your customers – often at short notice. A lot of businesses make payments only once or twice a month and around the time of the “payment run” is when the scammers try to strike – when everyone is under pressure to meet deadlines. Make sure that both you and your staff know what to do if you receive instructions to change payment details – even if it apparently comes from a colleague in another office. The obvious thing in a calm office is to make a separate call or email back to the client and seek confirmation (on a known and trusted email or telephone number – not the one telling you to change details). But in a stressful environment when people in charge may not be available, make sure that you have clear controls in place – for example, do your staff have the confidence and the authority to stop that element of the payment run if in any doubt whatsoever? Surely it is better to delay the payment while everything is triple checked rather than run the risk of being conned and losing not only


money but your potential client and future business as well? The scammers and con merchants will not be going away anytime soon and so we all have to be wary. The old adage of “If it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is” still applies – today possibly more than ever. By the way, I never did get my tax refund…. For further information


on any of the above points or to discuss your tax affairs generally, please do not hesitate to contact Robin Beadle at Ensors Chartered Accountants, Saxmundham on 01728 603005. This information is given


by way of general guidance only, and no action should be taken solely on the basis of the information contained herein. No liability is accepted by the firm for any actions taken without seeking appropriate professional advice.


From Your Local MP


THE Chancellor delivered his Autumn Statement last month and there was good news for Suffolk Coastal with £1 million allocated to develop a business case for the Energy Gateway on the A12. This is an important first step and follows the recent delegation of local councillors I led to meet the Transport Minister in Suffolk so he could see first-hand the congestion problems we face along this road. With Sizewell C on the horizon I will now work with our local councils to progress this as speedily as possible so residents and businesses can benefit from improvements to the A12. Other welcome measures in


his statement include 100% rural rate relief for small businesses in rural areas resulting in a tax break of up to £2,900, a new National Savings and Investments (NS&I) savings bond and a freeze in fuel duty. The Chancellor also recommitted to raising the tax free personal allowance to £11,500 in April 2017 and to £12,500 by 2020. The announcement in the Autumn Statement completed a double boost for the Energy Gateway as stage 2 of EDF’s public consultation on Sizewell C contained an option to bypass the villages of Farnham and Stratford St Andrew. While this falls short of the proposal we have been lobbying for it is the first time such an option has been included by EDF. We have waited a long time for this second stage consultation and it is vital that residents and business owners contribute. The consultation is open until February 3rd. You


can see the new proposals and respond by going to http:// sizewell.edfenergyconsultation. info. EDF will be hosting an exhibition in Haleworth in the Rifle Hall on December 15th between 11am and 3pm where residents can see plans for new infrastructure and ask any questions they may have to the EDF team. Married couples and civil partners may be eligible to reduce the income tax bill by up to £220 thanks to the government’s Marriage Allowance. Marriage is an important institution at the heart of a strong society and it is right that it is recognised in the tax system. However the Marriage Allowance is about more than just giving Suffolk families that bit of extra support, it’s about valuing commitment. Families are the bedrock of our society and this allowance is about saying that as a society, we recognise that. You can find out if you’re eligible and apply in less than seven minutes online at www.gov.uk/apply-marriage- allowance or by calling HMRC on 0300 200 3300. If you experience a power cut


this winter, there is a new number to call to get help. Call 105 to report and get advice on what to do next. This new number will put you through to uK Power Networks who are the electricity operator here in Suffolk and are responsible for keeping the lights on.


And finally, I would like to


wish all readers a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.


Dr Thérèse Coffey MP


Rosedale announces two key appointments


Robin Beadle


WOOLNOUGH funeral SerVICe


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SUFFOLK OFFICE


Leonardo, 11 Market Place, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8BA • 01986 875651


0287162


Phone us today to arrange your free initial consultation and see what we can do for you and your business.


Alan Stannard


Architecture & Planning Est 1996


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Bungay 01986 893134 Halesworth 01986 875246 Loddon 01508 520361 office@acg-solicitors.co.uk


ROSEDALE Funeral Home in Halesworth and Beccles has made two key appointments aimed at reinforcing its community work with bereaved families in Suffolk. Sue Prendergast and Wendy Mayhew both bring a huge amount of experience to the family run funeral home and their main focus will be in helping people come to terms with loss. Sue lives in Halesworth and


when she heard that Rosedale were looking for someone to start


•Accounts HALESWORTH


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•Self Assessment •VAT •Book-keeping •Payroll •QuickBooks •Sage


T 01986 872706 E info@vandijk.co Georgian House 34 Thoroughfare Halesworth IP19 8AP


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T 01986 893949 E info@vandijk.co 11 Trinity Street


Bungay NR35 1EH


a Bereavement Support Group in Halesworth was very keen to get more involved. Wendy is well known in Beccles as she runs the Sylvia’s hairdressers opposite Rosedale in Hungate and knows only too well the devastation that bereavement can cause as she was bereaved of her husband four years ago and was supported by Rosedale at the time. Wendy will be joining Rosedale’s Lucy Coote with the running of future Bereavement Support Groups in a voluntary capacity. “My aim is to help Rosedale to


lead the way in bereavement care and support people suffering from bereavement. I am committed to providing excellent service to local people and am proud to be working with the Rosedale team,” she said. The next Bereavement Support


Georgian House, 34 Thoroughfare, Halesworth, Suffolk, IP19 8AP


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& 01986 872706 F 01986 875060 E info@vandijk.co


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ALLENS CADGE & GILBERT SOLICITORS FOR OVER 100 YRS


BUNGAY/HALESWORTH/LODDON We can help with:-


groups to run in Suffolk are: Halesworth – February 2nd at The Angel Hotel, Halesworth run by Sue Prendergast and Dee Besley. Beccles – February 2nd at The Quaker Meeting House run by Lucy Coote and Wendy Mayhew. Bungay – February 6th at All Hallows run by Lucy Coote and Chloe Middleton. For more information go to


www.rosedalefuneralhome.co.uk or call into one of the funeral homes. Halesworth 01986 875588; Beccles 01502 714445; Bungay 01986 892790.


03119905


“The time leading up to the funeral was made bearable


knowing that you were at the end of the telephone.”


– from a family we have cared for at Rosedale


We are a family business and promise to provide exceptional care and a truly personal 24 hour service, when you need it most.


www.rosedalefuneralhome.co.uk Market Place, Halesworth 01986 875588


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