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34 Business


THE HERALD FRIDAY JANUARY 13 2017


By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants


THE APPRENTICESHIP


LEVY is being introduced from April 6 and will be payable by large employers. The Levy will be 0.5% of the


employer’s pay bill, which is explained later in this article, but there is an annual allowance of £15,000. The allowance will be given on a


pro-rata basis throughout the tax year. The recent guidance from the taxman at HMRC confirms employers will need to report their Apprenticeship Levy liability each month:


From the start of the tax year if: Their annual pay bill (including any


connected companies or charities) in the previous tax year was more than £3 million. They believe their annual pay bill


(including any connected companies or charities) for the tax year will be more than £3 million. If an employer’s annual pay bill


(including any connected companies or charities) unexpectedly increases to more than £3 million. In which case, the employer will need to start reporting when this happens. An employer’s annual pay bill is all


payments to employees that are subject to employer Class 1 secondary NICs. Broadly wages but excluding benefits and expenses. HMRC have confirmed that


employers must include payments to employees for whom there are no employer NICs including: All employees earning below the NIC lower earnings and secondary thresholds. Employees under the age of 21. Apprentices under the age of 25. The Apprenticeship Levy will need to


be reported each month on the Employer Payment Summary (known as the EPS) and should include the following: The amount of the annual


Apprenticeship Levy allowance which has been allocated to that PAYE scheme. The amount of Apprenticeship Levy you owe to date in the current tax year. HMRC have confirmed that it is not


necessary to report Apprenticeship Levy if the employer has not had to pay it in the current tax year. If you would like advice on the


Apprenticeship Levy or other payroll matters, please contact us at Clay Shaw


Butler. Internet Link for the Government’s


UK apprenticeship levy scheme – www. gov.uk/guidance/pay-apprenticeship-levy. Meanwhile, in other news, the following Tax Events are due on Thursday (Jan 19) -


Business Tax Events: PAYE quarterly payments are due


for small employers for the pay periods October 6, 2016 to January 5, 2017. This deadline is relevant to small employers and contractors only. As a small employer with income


tax, national insurance and student loan deductions of less than £1,500 a month, you are required to make payment to HMRC of the income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions on a quarterly basis. Where the payment is made


electronically, the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is next Friday (Jan 20), unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Sunday, January 22. In year interest will be charged if


payment is made late. Penalties also apply. PAYE, Student loan and CIS


deductions are due for the month to January 5, 2017. This deadline is relevant to employers


who have made PAYE deductions from their employees’ salaries and to contractors who have paid subcontractors under the CIS. Employers are required to make


payment to HMRC of the income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions. Contractors are required to make


payment to HMRC of the tax deductions made from subcontractors under the CIS. Where the payment is made


electronically, the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is next Friday (Jan 20) unless you are able to arrange a ‘Faster Payment’ to clear on or by Sunday, January 22. In year interest will be charged if payment is made late. Penalties also apply. You can find out more about money


matters on the Clay Shaw Butler website (under our news for business section) - www.clayshawbutler.com/news/latest- news-for-business.


MONEY MATTERS Cybercrime threats of the future CYBERCRIME was big


business for fraudsters in 2016, with cybercriminals racking up an estimated £1 billion in damages to companies across the UK. But more than the ever increasing


financial and reputational risks affecting the corporate and commercial sectors are the very real possibilities of cybercrime being used to execute large scale terrorist attacks, assassinations and even murders. As programmes like ‘Humans’ and


‘Westworld’ play out a fictional world of cyborgs turning on mankind, we take a look at the growing number of cyber threats both to businesses and individuals, and how fiction is quickly becoming fact.


RANSOMWARE Ransomware - a program used by


fraudsters to infiltrate hardware and hold a computer and its associated data hostage until the vicitim pays a hefty sum for its release - has been causing huge problems for businesses across the globe and is a trend that is set to continue in 2017. Jason Fry is a cybersecurity specialist


at PAV IT services. He has worked with numerous corporate and independent businesses across the UK, helping them to review and update their cybersecurity policies, procedures and solutions. He said: “There seems to be no sign


of this trend diminishing in the near future and certainly where ransomware is concerned, the fraudsters are consistently refining and updating its capabilities, resulting in versions that are even self- propagating. “Information can now be encrypted


much quicker, which can also play into the hands of the hackers. Criminals using ransomware can swiftly encrypt large amounts of data, often before a company even realises it's under attack.”


CONFIDENTIAL DATA Gaining control of an employee’s


network by stealing their username and password is nothing new, but cybercriminals are no longer relying on malicious malware in order to gain access to a victim’s machine. Instead, they get hold of sensitive information by using tactics such as phishing emails – an email that looks authentic, but tricks the recipient


into handing over sensitive information. Robert Schifreen is a former UK-


based computer hacker who was arrested in 1985 for breaching computers at British Telecom. He now runs a security awareness training programme called SecuritySmart.co.uk. He said: "Many of today's hackers


are highly sophisticated and skilled. A criminal group may spend many months hacking millions of devices and computers across the world, ready to form them into a botnet on command, in return for a fee from a third party, to attack a chosen victim. Some of the most innovative companies are helping to thwart such attacks by offering so-called bug bounties, through which hackers and researchers can earn money by uncovering security weaknesses and responsibly disclosing them to the vendor concerned."


ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) The emerging market of driverless


cars, which are also able to park themselves and be controlled remotely, along with medicines that can be self-administered by personal devices and the popularity of drones, gives us an indication of the automation we can expect in our day-to- day lives in the future. As the market grows for such technology, the possibilities for cyber criminals start to become endless. Jason said: “Cybercriminals with a


more sinister agenda than breaching data in return for financial reward will be able to take advantage of technology in order to execute terrorist acts or murders. For example, by hacking medical devices to administer lethal dosages to victims.” Robert believes this calls into question


whether penalties for cybercriminals are substantial enough: “The Computer Misuse Act of 1990 criminalised computer hacking. The maximum penalty available today under the Act is 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. While this has proved a useful deterrent, successful prosecutions are rare in relation to the huge number of computer-related crimes being committed every day. The party which suffers most as the result of a large-scale hack or data breach is the victim, not just financially but primarily in terms of reputation.” But human cybercriminals aren’t the only thing we should be worried about. Jason continued: “Software that


is capable of learning and not making the wrong decision more than once already exists and it will not be too long before systems can make judgements, assessments, and predictions at a much faster pace. Once machines can think for themselves, the possible threats to individuals, businesses, and even countries, becomes a real and greater concern.” So, what do we do in the meantime?


Jason believes the answer comes from ensuring we have sufficient knowledge to prevent such attacks in the first place: “People are the key to preventing attacks - knowledge is everything in the current climate. Training staff and greater staff awareness are absolutely essential. One of the major issues currently facing businesses, especially those with numerous employees, is the lack of knowledge amongst staff and the ways in which cybercriminals may infiltrate their systems essentially leaving them at greater risk of falling victim to things like phishing and social engineering scams.”


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